Virus targets Chechen rebels
Lynnfield, Mass.-based antivirus firm Sophos said a new worm has been designed to attack Web sites run by Chechen rebel separatists. W32.Maslan-C spreads by e-mail with an attached file called Playgirls2.exe. Those who run the attached file and become infected can pass it to other e-mail users and can become unwitting pawns in these attacks. A typical e-mail sent by the worm reads as follows:
- Subject Line:123
- File attachment: Playgirls2.exe
- Message Body: Hello [random name],--Best regards, [random sender name]
The worm waits until the first day of each month, then launches a denial-of-service attack to swamp targeted Web sites with Internet traffic. Those Web sites are all connected with the Chechen rebel movement: chechenpress.com, chechenpress.info; kavkaz.org.uk; kavkaz.tv; kavkaz.uk.com; kavkazcenter.com; kavkazcenter.info; and kavkazcenter.net.
This isn't the first time Chechen separatist sites have been in the news. Just two weeks ago, Russia's foreign ministry asked its Lithuanian counterparts why the Web sites -- run by separatists in Lithuania -- had resumed activity.
"These Web sites play a key role in the propaganda war between the Chechen rebels and the Kremlin," Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, said in a statement. "Clearly, whoever has written this virus wants to make it harder for the Chechen separatists to publish information about their cause on the Internet. Whether you agree with the worm's intention or not, spreading a virus which infects innocent computers and launch attacks against Web sites is a criminal act."
CSIA: Bush must bolster cybersecurity in second term
The Bush Administration must do more to bolster cybersecurity in its second term, the Cyber Security Industry Alliance said in a report this week. At a press conference in Washington D.C. Tuesday, the alliance of vendors listed actions the government can take to tighten Internet security. Recommendations include:
- Having a strong assistant cybersecurity secretary position in the Department of Homeland Security;
- Ratifying the Council of Europe's Convention on Cybercrime;
- Leading by example through procurement practices;
- Increasing R&D funding for cybersecurity; and
- Establishing and testing a survivable emergency coordination network in the event of a large-scale Internet outage.
The administration has made improvements, but much more must be done, Citadel Chairman and CEO Steve Solomon said at the press conference. Unlike the physical world, cyberspace has no borders and "the threat is real and requires the administration to act today," he said.
Will the security market crash?
In one of the more unusual predictions this month, the head of Russian antivirus firm Kaspersky Labs warned that the secure computing market will crash in the next five years. "I predict the balloon will burst like the Internet did before," said Eugene Kaspersky, head of research for Kaspersky Labs. "Security is a hot topic with more and more investment and companies in the market. But these companies do not have great experience or skill." According to SC magazine, Kaspersky this week said better, more secure networks could lead to the market crash. "National secure networks for business are on their way, some banks are already using secure servers. Changing the Internet now to be safer would be like switching which side of the road you drive. It will take a long time. But secure networks are being created," Kaspersky said.
Though it's a dire prediction for the security sector, Kaspersky said business will continue to boom for the immediate future. Natalya Kaspersky, CEO of the company, said, "We may go public next year. We hired 100 new people in 2004 and are considering investment for movement into other markets." SC magazine said the comments came at an annual press conference in Moscow in which Kaspersky attacked public reporting of security vulnerabilities. "It's not a good idea to report to the public information about new security breaches: It's better to keep silence," said Eugene Kaspersky. "If your neighbor forgot to lock the door you don't shout and say 'hey this guy left his door unlocked.' It's better to report it secretly."